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The Short Book on Options

The Short Book on Options

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The Short Book on Options

2/5 (1 valutazione)
114 pagine
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May 20, 2014


A concise, easy-to -understand primer that first teaches the basics of stock options and then offers a hands-on approach to using options conservatively. Beginning with a description of what an option is and how an option works, The Short Book On Options takes the reader on a journey from learning the language of options to being prepared to trade. The book provides detailed answers to these important questions: What are the steps involved in trading options? Why would you want to sell a stock option? What do you have to gain? What do you have to lose? How do you choose which option to sell? The Short Book On Options is especially useful for long-term buy-and-hold investors, owners of a self-directed retirement plan, investment club members or anyone who wants to increase the performance and safety of his/her investment portfolio. The author teaches a conservative strategy focusing on profitability with reduced risk. By the time you finish reading this book, you will be eager (and prepared) to make your first options trade.

May 20, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

I first began trading options in 1975; just two years after the CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) opened its trading floor. My strategy of choice was writing covered calls. In late 1976, I was employed by Monsanto Company as a research chemist when a friend bought a seat on the CBOE. We had lengthy discussions about his new venture. Long story short, he gave me an opportunity to come to Chicago and trade as a market maker as the nominee for someone who owned a seat on the exchange, but who did not want to trade himself. I accepted, quit my job and drove to Chicago. That was December 20, 1976 and my life changed forever. I'm still in the options business, 37 years later. I left the CBOE trading floor in the year 2000. Since that time I've been trading my own account — just as you do — as a retail customer. But, I added something new when I began writing and teaching others how to trade options with a conservative bias. My first book was published in 2002 (The Short Book on Options) and others followed. I published a blog for several years, and the contents are still available. My current projects include a) developing this blog at and would love to hear from you with comments, questions, requests for topics to discuss, etc., and b) writing a series of eBooks on individual option strategies. My books: • The Rookies Guide to Options, 2nd Edition (2013) • Create your own Hedge Fund (2005) • The Short Book on Options (2002) My eBooks: • Introduction to Options: The Basics (2014) • Writing Naked Puts (2014) • The Short Book on Options (2002, 2014) • The Option Trader’s Mindset: Think Like a Winner (2012) • Lessons of a Lifetime: My 33 years as an Option Trader (2010)

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Anteprima del libro

The Short Book on Options - Mark D Wolfinger



The majority of the investing public, and I assume that includes you, are unaware of the possible benefits to be gained from the conservative use of stock options. Many are not aware that stock options exist. By the time you finish reading this book you will know how to use options to:

--Increase the probability of earning money from stock market investments.

--Gain a modest amount of portfolio protection, in case your stocks undergo a price decline.

In easy-to-understand language, you learn a low risk strategy for the options markets. I’ll explain how to achieve a consistent rate of return on your investments that is probably (no guarantees) better than you earn without the use of options. This strategy makes any portfolio safer by providing some insurance against loss. This is a real benefit in years when the market declines. The investment strategy is based on adopting a simple technique using call options. (If you are not sure what call options are, options basics are explained in Chapter 2.)

This book is for you, as a buy-and-hold investor. Learn how to gain an advantage over your current methods. Investors who use options have an edge over those who don’t.

This book is for you, as an investor who does his own research and decides which stocks to buy.

This book is for you, as a member of an investment club. As investors interested in growth and who carefully research which stocks to own, investment club members are in a position to benefit from the use of call options.

This book is for you, if you have a self-directed retirement account. The investment technique taught in these pages is the only options strategy investors are permitted to use in retirement accounts, as it is the only strategy considered sufficiently conservative for such accounts. It is especially useful for these accounts, where earnings are allowed to compound year after year. If you take advantage of the strategy outlined in this volume, those extra earnings make your financially secure retirement more likely.

Because options have received bad press over the years, many people close their ears when they hear the word options‟. I approached the president of an investment club and offered to present a complimentary talk about the advantages of using options to her club. Her reply was We don’t do that." I felt badly because her lack of curiosity deprived other club members of their opportunity to learn about options. They were unable to decide if they want to use options for either their own investment accounts or for the club account.

A friend spoke to a professional investment advisor about the possibility of using the basic options strategy I describe in these pages as another investment tool that he could share with his clients. The investment advisor had no interest in learning.

Apathy. Lack of information. Bad publicity. I faced all of them when I tried to build a business based on teaching my favorite investment tool to others. These three factors became the driving force that inspired me to write this short volume. My goal is to produce a short, instructive book that describes how individual investors can benefit by adopting an option strategy. I hope the word spreads, and that conservative option strategies find their rightful place in the investment world.

Evanston, Illinois. February, 2002

Seven years later and this little book still works. I want to point out that writing covered calls remains a worthwhile investment strategy when used as a learning tool. But once you really understand this investing method, I suggest that you consider alternatives which are even less risky when markets fall. Bear- markets are a fact of life and owning some protection is a sound policy.

Other strategies are described in The Rookies Guide to Options. Or visit my blog for many articles on a wide variety of topics:

August, 2009

Minor updates: Aug 2014.


This book presents a simple technique for using stock options that you can apply to your own stock portfolio. Under most market conditions, if you adopt this strategy, you can produce substantial additional income. This trading tool is not some closely guarded secret, although it might as well be, since most investors do not know this easily understood strategy is available. Some professional investment advisors, who could have been teaching this investment tool to their clients over the past four decades (options started trading on an exchange in 1973), have failed to do so. One purpose of this book is to clear away misconceptions and fears about options and to make information readily available so that investors can decide if they want to take advantage of stock options.

Negative publicity has hounded options trading since the market in tulip options collapsed in the 17th century. At that time, speculators, who chose a very risky strategy using put options, (if you are not sure what put options are, options basics are explained in Chapter 2) defaulted and were unable to fulfill their obligations when tulip prices fell sharply.

Quite often, the media reports on the negative side of business because it is newsworthy. Options have received negative coverage over the years, for there is no news to report when people use options intelligently to reduce risk and increase profits. When speculators cause disasters, such as the collapse of the Barings Bank in 1995, the press is there to cover the story. [The venerable British Barings Bank collapsed in February 1995 after a rogue futures trader lost huge sums.]

Today, many people turn away from options and decline, when offered the opportunity, to learn how to use them. Thus, investors are not aware of the benefits to be gained from using stock options. The truth is, options can be used conservatively to produce additional earnings, but many people mistakenly believe only speculators use options. Despite the fact that additional profits are the most likely result when using options in the suggested manner, as with other sound investment techniques, losses can still occur.

There are some people who make a living by promoting options as a get-rich-quick mechanism. There are others who make outrageous claims about potential profits and charge exorbitant fees for seminars. I make no such claims. I am only telling you that by using options there is a high probability your investment account will be more profitable than a similar account that does not use options. In order to gain this additional income, you must give up something. This book includes a discussion of what you have to sacrifice in order to obtain the benefits of using options. This very conservative option strategy has some risk, and that risk is discussed in this book.

The strategy that I teach in this volume is not for everyone, but if you invest in individual stocks, this book

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